Category Archives: Airports

Your Aviation Weekend Reads for December 1, 2016

757_2

The rollout of the Boeing 757. Photo courtesy of Boeing

The airline industry has been clamoring for Boeing to either bring back the single-aisle 757 or create a new version of the aircraft. The Seattle-based manufacturer stopped building in October 2004, after 1,050 had been built for 54 customers. Airlines including United, Delta and American still have the jet in their fleets.

In an interview with Airways magazine in February 2015, VP-Marketing Randy Tinseth said Boeing was not considering a 757 replacement or re-engining. But in July, Bloomberg did this story quoting Mike Delaney, Boeing’s general manager of airplane development, who used the term “when,” not “if,” in discussing the prospects for a new single-aisle jet that would fill the gap between the largest 737 and smallest 787.

Business Insider notes that while the jet only had 1050 orders, it still has a list of loyal customers, so it asked pilot Patrick Smith why the jet is still so popular. “There’s no denying the 757 is an old plane that was designed in the late 1970s, but the versatility of the plane is remarkable and unmatched,” said Smith, author of the book Cockpit Confidential. “It’s profitable on both short-haul domestic as well as trans-Atlantic routes.”

EVE-1276-04

Airbus recently celebrated the first flight of its larger A350-1000 wide-body jet at its headquarters in Toulouse, France. The world’s media attending the event noticed something unnerving: a white jet (called a ghost or a white-tail) sitting on the tarmac at the manufacturer’s airport, reports The National. Ghost aircraft are ones that are built but have not been sold, and the fact that Airbus has a ghost A350 on a relatively new plane to the market is seen as troubling.

In the November 3 edition of Weekend Reads, I wrote about how London Heathrow Airport is closer to getting the third runway it has been trying to build for decades, pushed by flag carrier British Airways. The CEO of BA parent IAG, Willie Walsh, just learned that in order to get that third runway, officials at Heathrow will have to tear down the carrier’s headquarters, reports the Guardian. The problem is, no one from the airport informed Walsh beforehand that the runway will go right through BA’s headquarters, based at Waterside in Harmondsworth, which opened in 1998.

The Runway Girl Network’s John Walton writes about the grand opening of Cathay Pacific’s new London Heathrow Terminal 3 business and first class lounge, which finally opened a year after the original lounge closed a year ago. It features a wide variety of seating options, a contemporary Asian design aesthetic, a work zone and eight shower rooms, among other things.

img_2202

United Airlines’ Polaris Lounge at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Photo by Benét J. Wilson

And I was at Chicago O’Hare International Airport Nov. 30 for a sneak peek of United Airlines’ Polaris Lounge, the carrier’s highly anticipated premium facility for its international business class customers. I covered the event for LoungeReview.com, writing about the  food by celebrity Chef Art Smith, drinks by Mixologist Adam Seger and amenities including shower spas and private sleeping suites.

Back in June 2012, I wrote this blog post on why Delta Air Lines began testing basic economy fares, offering onerous restrictions in exchange for much lower prices. Four years later, the fares are part of Delta’s structure and United Airlines has unveiled its own version. Lifehacker explains just what you’re forfeiting in services and amenities if you choose to buy these low fares.

Regular readers know I’m a huge fan of airports big and small. So imagine my delight when Wired magazine did this post on the smart ways airports are using technology for a better passenger experience. They include robot helpers at Tokyo Haneda, facial recognition at Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International and Bluetooth beacons at Miami International (see my story on those here).

boeing_727_hotel_costa_verde_costa_rica_2014_photo_by_gotanero

Photo courtesy of Gotanero/Wikipedia

If you’re looking for a unique holiday option in Costa Rica, you may want to consider a stay in the Hotel Coste Verde near the coastal rainforest between the Manuel Antonio National Park and the Pacific Ocean. What makes this hotel unique is that it has a suite that’s housed in an old Boeing 727 jet, reports Curbed.com. It’s sitting on top of a 50-foot pedestal that offers customers panoramic ocean and jungle views.

Please enjoy these links to read over the weekend. Enjoy!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Benét J. Wilson is a freelance aviation/travel writer based in Baltimore who is available for your writing and branded content/content marketing projects. She’s the Air Travel Expert for About.com. Follow her travel-related magazines on Flipboard: Best of About Travel, a joint curation venture with her fellow About Travel Experts; Travel-Go! There’s Nothing Stopping You, all about the passenger experience on the ground and in the air; and Aviation Geek, a joint magazine sharing everything you need to know about the commercial aviation industry. Check out her travel-related boards on Pinterest and follow her on Twitter at @AvQueenBenet, on her Aviation Queen Facebook Page and on Instagram at aviationqueen.

 

Random Aviation Photo

Back in the summer of 2007, I was in Las Vegas for a journalism convention (good times). I flew in early so I could do an interview with the then-head of the airport and take one of those great, behind-the-scenes #avgeek tours. I was invited to go on the roof of one of the terminals to check out the view. I decided to ignore my fear of heights and I got this and many other shots. Enjoy!

1107683281_4d0aa667c9_b

Random Aviation Photo

Back in June, I got to spend the day at United Airlines’ Newark-Liberty International Airport’s Terminal C tasting to food at Little Purse, a noodle and dumpling restaurant that opened in August. You can read my story here. I also got to see the new seating area where United passengers will be able to eat, drink and be merry right at their boarding gate.  Enjoy!

27627196352_f94491e5b1_k-1

Strange But True Aviation News

letterboard

Now taking off: political inflight fights.  A pilot aboard a flight from San Francisco and Puerto Vallarta had to play referee after passengers got into a fight over the results of the presidential election, reports ABC7. “As people, we have the common decency to respect each other’s decisions, and to get along on this three hour and 13-minute flight,” the pilot said on the intercom.

bill-walton-jpg

Dude! Where’s my bike? Basketball legend Bill Walton took to Twitter after Hawaiian Airlines lost his bike during a trip to Maui, reports TheScore.com. After asking Walton to email them more information, he quipped — on Twitter — “Why, are you going to email my bike?” All’s well that ends well, as Walton got his bike back a day later.

Flight turns into flight club. A huge fight broke out on a Ryanair jet flying from Brussels to Malta, reports the Mirror. The fight, which had to be broken up by passengers, was started by Eastern European travelers who were described as “incredibly aggressive,” as they exchanged punches.  The aircraft was forced to divert in Pisa, Italy, where the men were removed and arrested.

You can’t just be an air traffic controller. Gary Leff from the View From The Wing blog reports how a Virgin Australia flight was instructed to land in Melbourne — but it was by someone who wasn’t an air traffic controller. The 737 jet came within 275 feet of the runway before a real air traffic controller stopped the plane from landing. The same person also pretended to be a jet requesting an emergency landing.

Your Aviation Weekend Reads for November 17, 2016

aa-383-jpg

In the aftermath of the American Airlines Boeing 767 that caught fire at Chicago O’Hare on Oct. 28, 18 of the 20 passengers injured have filed a lawsuit, reports the Chicago Tribune. According to a statement from the Geneva-based law firm representing the plaintiffs blamed Boeing and GE for having an engine constructed from defective material, and blamed the airline’s employees of being negligent when the airplane was evacuated.

In the case of the Asiana Airlines 777 crash in San Francisco that killed three, 72 of the 304 aboard the flight settled with the carrier for an undisclosed amount in March 2015.

When I worked at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, one of the top issues being covered by the government affairs department was the safe  integration of drones into the national airspace system. “UAS must be integrated into the NAS in a manner that maintains the level of safety to people and property in the air and on the ground that general aviation currently provides,” according to AOPA.

And now it looks like AOPA’s concerns were real, with a report from the Guardian about a passenger aircraft nearly colliding with a drone. A Porter Airlines Bombardier Q400 turboprop, carrying 54 passengers and four crew, was going to Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport when it had to swerve to avoid hitting a drone about 30 miles out. Two flight attendants sustained minor injuries.

160324-boom2-630x354

A rendering of a Boom Technology jet parked at London Heathrow Airport. Image courtesy of Boom Technology

Boom Technology, builder of the newest supersonic jet, went on a major media blitz on Nov. 15. I did a Q&A interview with CEO and Founder Blake Scholl for Airways magazine, where he spoke about why he wanted to do the project, how it’s being funded and when it will come to market. will get public design debut in Centennial

In last week’s Weekend Reads, I wrote about how American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have unveiled true premium economy class products. And now Airways magazine reports that Alaska Airlines is the newest member of this club, with plans to unveil its own product on Jan. 5 on its fleet of Boeing 737-800s and -900s.

United Airlines held its quarterly earnings call on Nov. 15, where it announced it would become the first large U.S. carrier to restrict travelers on basic economy fares to only a single carry-on bag that must fit under a seat, reports FOX Business. It also announced that it was deferring delivery of 61 Boeing 737-700s and converting them to MAX jets, along with buying 24 Embraer E175 smaller jets.

img_9813

Image courtesy of JetBlue

I’m the curator of the Retro Airline Liveries Pinterest board, which is my way of showcasing the cool paint jobs of the past. So you know I was delighted when I read on the JetBlue blog that the 16-year-old airline just unveiled its interpretation of a retro livery from the 1960s. “The Retrojet livery—designed by JetBlue’s Design Team—was conceptualized after hours of research at New York City’s Lubalin Archive at the Cooper Union,” according to the blog.

I’ll be on travel this week, so I have more links I think you’ll like to read for the rest of the week. Enjoy!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Benét J. Wilson is a freelance aviation/travel writer based in Baltimore who is available for your writing and branded content/content marketing projects. She’s the Air Travel Expert for About.com. Follow her travel-related magazines on Flipboard: Best of About Travel, a joint curation venture with her fellow About Travel Experts; Travel-Go! There’s Nothing Stopping You, all about the passenger experience on the ground and in the air; and Aviation Geek, a joint magazine sharing everything you need to know about the commercial aviation industry. Check out her travel-related boards on Pinterest and follow her on Twitter at @AvQueenBenet, on her Aviation Queen Facebook Page and on Instagram at aviationqueen.